Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, according to a cache of what appear to be several thousand emails received and sent by the Syrian leader and his wife.As is usually the case in these situations the initial disclosures mostly confirm what we already knew but besides the thuggery and the bragging there is the banality of the wife's demands for crystal chandeliers and fondue sets in the midst of a civil war.
The Syrian leader was also briefed in detail about the presence of western journalists in the Baba Amr district of Homs and urged to "tighten the security grip" on the opposition-held city in November.
The revelations are contained in more than 3,000 documents that activists say are emails downloaded from private accounts belonging to Assad and his wife Asma.
We have no way to know whether the emails are genuine or fake but many of the major intelligence services monitoring Syria will have a pretty good idea. It takes a lot of information to produce a forgery that would withstand cross checking with the volumes of information they have on file .
The opinion of the emails that is likely to matter is that formed by Russia's GRU. According to the US establishment media Russia is the principal force blocking UN action against Syria. Which is the truth but not necessarily the whole truth. A cynic might suggest that with the Libyan civil war just finished and the war in Afghanistan continuing, the Obama administration would prefer to have its hands being tied by the Russians than charge into what could be a messy situation in an election year. Should Russia decide to change that position, the emails would provide a convenient pretext.
 Dissatisfied by the opinion of the CIA analysts who dismissed evidence of Iraqi WMD as clearly spurious, the Bush administration had to create a new intelligence unit (Feith's Office of Special Plans) to pronounce the evidence compelling. Unlike Feith, the CIA analysts could spot that it was rather unlikely that Iraqi plans for nuclear technology would use Farsi, the language of Iran.